Once again I saw the most promising new documentary films at one of the great nonfiction film get-togethers, the True/False Film Fest, now in its 15th year in Columbia, Missouri.
I aimed for films with historical themes to them, and wound up attending 13 screenings. I starred the very best ones.
When I get the reviews posted, you’ll see the links below. Or you can just go to my new Film Fests blog.
Day 1: Amazing Grace
I saw three films on Thursday making their US or world debuts. Reviews ranked in order of like.
Day 2: Democracy on fire
“The Rider” — I loved this film, but it’s almost in theaters and has already screened at several festivals, so instead I refer you to this review from The Guardian.
“Our New President” —
No matter how outrageous the lies coming out of 45’s mouth, they can’t compare with the insane statements presented as fact every day on the “news” channels of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. This appalling documentary shows how alt-right stories in the U.S. are appropriated and kicked up several notches of weird by Russia-1, the country’s most popular news channel. (Did you know that Bill and Hillary started every day in the White House with a cocaine party?) These stories are then regurgitated by everyday Russians in opinion polls and YouTubes. You’ll laugh, you’ll gasp — hopefully, you’ll come away with a little more respect for independent, professional journalists.
I also viewed “Graven Image,” an 11-minute short about Stone Mountain, Georgia, a Confederate monument created to glorify the Ku Klux Klan. You can watch it too, on The Atlantic.
Day 3: They still matter
* “Hale County This Morning, This Evening”
* “Crime & Punishment”
“Westwood” — This late-night screening was just for fun. I don’t know much about fashion, or the UK punk scene in the 1970s and ’80s, but designer Vivienne Westwood is a punk icon and this entertaining biodoc gives a pretty good idea why. I enjoyed learning that Westwood’s partner is also her creative and business partner. That would describe Diane and me as well. It was encouraging to see how, after all these years, they need each other emotionally as well as creatively.
I also viewed a “secret screening” of a doc that hasn’t been officially released. When it is, I’ll write about it.
Day 4: Please won’t see my docu?
Reviews coming for:
“Three Identical Strangers” (triplets separated after birth)
“Love Means Zero” (tennis coach doc)
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (the Fred Rogers film)